How do Certified Professional Guardians Get Paid?

I want to start my answer by saying that it’s complicated. I am often asked about this, though. I will only be able to give very simplistic answer in this post, so if you have additional questions, please contact me at

Certified Professional Guardians have a variety of ways that we get paid depending on the assets of the vulnerable adult who is under guardianship.

Pro Bono – Many Certified Professional Guardians take some Pro Bono guardianships. This means that the guardian does not get paid. Often, the vulnerable adult has only SSI to live on and there are no funds allowed to be used to pay the guardian.

DDA – Many vulnerable adults in the DDA program do not have funds to pay for a Certified Professional Guardian. The exception is if the vulnerable adult has a special needs trust that allow the Certified Professional Guardian to be paid. Sometimes, there are some funds (figured out through a very complicated algorithm) that will allow the Certified Professional Guardian to be paid a small sum month.

Medicaid – There are sometimes funds to pay a Certified Professional Guardian by Vulnerable adults who are receiving Medicaid benefits and have enough income where they have to pay a “participation” toward their care. This has to be approved by the DSHS financial worker and is capped at $235 per month.

Public Guardianship Program – The Public Guardianship Program is currently funded for only 75 vulnerable adults statewide. A Certified Professional Guardian has to have a contract with the Public Guardianship Program in order to accept guardianship clients who qualify for this program. The initial rate for the first three months is $535 per month. After the first three months the fee changes to $325 per month.

Private Pay – Each Certified Professional Guardian has an established hourly rate for private pay vulnerable adults. In order to pay themselves, each Certified Professional Guardian or Certified Professional Guardian Agency needs a court order allowing them to pay themselves. At each reporting period where the guardian submits a report to the court, the judge has to determine if the fees are reasonable and approve them.

With very few exceptions, Certified Professional Guardians are not allowed to petition a guardianship and recommend themselves as the court appointed guardian. A Certified Professional Guardian has to wait until a Guardian ad Litem (court investigator) contacts him/her and asks if they would take the guardianship.

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